Keto isn’t about the rules. It’s about improving the way your body functions.
Let me elaborate. My first effort when someone asks me about keto is to explain how hormones affect hunger and energy storage (and release!) in our body. From there, I point out what carbs do, specifically, in this process.
I know I’m probably data-dumping on these new people who just want to know where they sign up to eat all the bacon and cheese they see me enjoying, but understanding why this lifestyle works is going to get a new ketonian a lot more success than just a food list.
Food lists are, however, often what people want. I mean, we offer a food list to newsletter subscribers, because that’s a great way to entice folks to sign up. “Here are all the answers,” we promise, and people happily click.
The problem with a food list is that folks see it as a pair of stone tablets. “Can I do this?” “Can I eat that?” “But what about this thing that’s not on the list?” “What if I don’t like that food?” “What if I really miss this other thing I used to eat?” “This other website says I can have fruit…”
If a person embarks on a ketogenic lifestyle without understanding the mechanisms that make keto so great for the human body, they’re going to spend a lot of time asking these questions. Don’t believe me? Check the Ketogenic Success group on Facebook. The questions above are going to be easy to spot, repeatedly.
I don’t blame the folks with the questions. Society has trained us that a diet is about rules. It's been pounded into our heads over our entire life that losing weight is a matter of how fervently you can color within a specific set of lines.
But here’s a secret: There are no rules. Nothing is permitted or forbidden. You can do what you want. You’re an adult and you can make your own choices. The key is making those choices informed.
How do you make informed choices?
By knowing the science; knowing the functions of insulin and, more broadly, understanding how glucose in your bloodstream impacts your full body system.
“But I just want to lose weight!” you say.
Fine, you just want to be told what to do, what to eat, how much to exercise, and when you can expect to fit into those skinny jeans. I get it.
You can get along just following the food lists, eating real food, and tracking your macros. You can. I promise you can.
For a while.
At some point, you’re likely going to reach what the villagers like to call a ‘plateau’ or a ‘stall’ and you’re going to want to know what you’re doing ‘wrong.’ The rules aren’t going to help you then. Folks who answer frustrated posts on the Facebook group aren’t going to have the specific rule that you’re breaking or be able to sell you a magic bean (or exogenous ketone) that will get you back on the right track.
Knowledge and understanding will get you there.
So why not start now? Consume the science. Read the studies. Listen to interviews with researchers and biohackers. There are so many books on Wheat-Free and Sugar-Free health with “why” in the title, and that’s because the why is the key.
It’s your body. Own it, understand it, and feed it well. Because you deserve more than to just do what you’re told. Keto is freedom, powered by information.